Awful People

Awful People

Photo by Dikaseva on Unsplash

There are a lot of people in the world and not all of them are decent. I’m not talking about the mass shooters or the serial killers either. Of course, they’re not decent either. I’m talking about the negative, passive-aggressive, gossipy, two-faced everyday people we come across in our lives.  They can even be “friends” and relatives.

As I’ve grown older my circle shrinks. There are less people whose values align with me. That doesn’t mean I cut people off if they are different politically or decide to go Vegan. Opposing ideas are good to keep around. Not so good are those people’s whose values just don’t align. Those people that have two personas. Those people that seem to have a hidden agenda. The inauthentic.

We can’t hide from them or exclude them from every aspect of our lives but we can limit our contact. It’s really really hard to let go of longtime friends or limit family relations but you’ll know it’s time when you dread seeing the number on your cell or the feeling that every encounter is something you must survive.

I know that can be every Thanksgiving for a lot of people but life is just too short to merely survive instances and holidays.

Here are some ideas I’ve developed for getting out of awful relationships:

  1. Lay out the rules. Often telling the person straightens them up. “If you speak badly about my spouse when we are around, I’m afraid I won’t be able to attend these functions anymore.” You’d be amazed how many rude or gossipy people simply continue because nobody ever calls them on it.
  2. Limit your contact with them. People get the hint when you stop returning calls or politely decline invitations. Your time and attention is your most precious commodity. Sometimes people behave better when you limit how much of the commodity you’re willing to give.
  3. Just let them go. This is the hardest one. Sometimes you just have to walk away. Declare emotional bankruptcy. Delete and block the contact. Go live your life.

There is a saying attributed to Helen Keller that says, “Look toward the sun and the shadows will fall behind you.”

Go find your tribe in the sun.  You may have to take a long walk and reach, but you will find them.

Today and Tomorrow


Tomorrow would be a great day to start getting up earlier and enacting a morning routine that sets me up on a successful path.

Tomorrow would be a great day to start exercising and eating more healthfully.

Tomorrow would be a great day to start putting things away as I use them and being more mindful when I create clutter.

Tomorrow would be a great day to start spending less time in front of a screen and more time outside.

Tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow.  What an amazing place tomorrow is.

Today would be a great day to go grocery shopping and buy a week’s worth of healthy food to cook at home.  

Today would be a great day to lay out my clothes and make my healthy lunch for the next day.

Today would be a great day to sit down with my planner and fill in the exact time I’ll exercise tomorrow.

Today would be a great day to layout my workout clothes and be ready for exercise.

Today would be a great day to wash, dry, and fold one load of laundry.

Today would be a great day to clear off the dining room table and eat with my family away from a screen.

Today is where your tomorrow is born.  



Goal Setting For The New Year


So it’s about to be 2017.  Time to break up with the eggnog and look towards a better future.  Of course the future is always better. (Said sarcastically).  As a person always in pursuit of better, I don’t mean to mock the new year.  I do believe it is a time to set new intentions and try to be a little bit better than last year.  I just don’t believe in resolutions/ goals that require you to be a completely different person that you actually are.  You will not get up and start running at 5am before work if you are struggling with getting to work on time.  You will not start eating 500 calories per day if you’ve been accustomed to 3000.  You will not start living like a minimalist if you are a hoarder.  You get where I’m going with this.  Think smaller.  I know my phrase should be “Go Big or Go Home!” but most people  just end up going home disappointed in themselves for not being that person they aspire to be.  One more cliche here.  Rome wasn’t built in a day.  Think incrementally.

  1. DIET.    Instead of starting a radical new calorie restrictive diet, how about you just start getting a handle on your current calories.  How about you honestly start logging calories in an app such as Lose it!.  Start by figuring out how bad it is and how bad those weekends are.  Account for EVERYTHING.  Every single bit or sip that goes into your month.  Research shows that you will change eating when you actually start taking responsibility for it.
  2. ORGANIZATION.   Pick a room to clean out for the month of January.  Not the day, nor hour but what room in your house can  clean up.  Do NOT buy storage bins.  This is just another way of hoarding. Just organized hoarding.  Your goal is not to have more bins but rather to only need them for seasonal decorations. Bins should not be part of your day to day life.
  3. EXERCISE.     Do not join a gym right now.  You’re better off sponsoring a cow for Heifer International.  At least that money will go to good use.  If you need a class go to a yoga or spinning studio and buy a block of classes.  No recurring fees you might just never use.  Start by going once per week.  Seriously, do not put 5 days per week of running in your calendar if you haven’t been off the couch since Christmas Eve.
  4. CALENDARS.   Speaking of calendars. Buy one.  Preferably from me (click on shop link) but not everyone is into paper.  Start with some Google Calendar.  Get those events in there and then start getting specific.  I plan everything down to meals and exercise.  Leave nothing to chance.  


With any change, be realistic.  Think about why you want this goal.  Make sure that your why is strong.  If will see you through in the dark times of wine and Haagan Daaz.  Also, think about the why not?  What has stopped me from attaining these goals before?   A new year is a good time to reflect on what went right and on what’s not working.  Maybe spending five nights a week on a soccer field is not where you want to be.  Think about all the extra curricular things you do.  Are they worth it?  Are they contributing anything to my family or do I do them out of a sense of obligation?  I know scrolling through Pinterest does not enhance my life.  I still do it, but before I start, I always remind myself that this is for entertainment only and this is not furthering who I want to be.  That will keep me from Pinteresitng my way through 6 hours and wearing dirty clothes to work.  Be intentional.  Not every moment in your day needs to be in pursuit of better but be aware when it is not.  That screen time  rabbit hole is deep.  


I wish everyone a happy and healthy new year.  I resolve to be more consistent on my writing.  I’ll be coming out with some new strategies for conquering common pitfalls in goals for 2017.  You can be better than before.  




Alternate Day Fasting

About five months ago I listened to a podcast from The Nutrition Diva that talked about slowing metabolisms.  There’s a common thought that losing weight rapidly slows your metabolism but this was more observational science rather than numbers and physiological science.  With  the show, The Biggest Loser, scientists now had a large pool of people in which to look at metabolic rates.  The conclusion was not shocking, losing weight rapidly does indeed slow your normal metabolic rate.  Hence, the large numbers of people that gain the weight back, gain more than they had before.  

The bigger question was to determine if there was a way to reset a metabolism without harsh drugs.  The answered surprised me and sent me down a research rabbit hole.

Fasting.  Not a long juice cleanse but rather alternate day fasting.  

And by fasting, they did not mean 0 calories but about 20-25% of what you normally eat. So around 500 calories.  

I read this book:

And watched Michael Mosley’s documentary, Eat, Fast, Live Longer.  It’s available on Vimeo here.  

There is science to support this diet.  One of the most recent studies have found it’s as good as any standard calorie-restrictive diet with one major difference.  You only have to suffer for 2 days versus the rest of your life.

I think this is the most compelling part of the diet.  Suffer two days but reap the benefits.  Dieting is hard.  That’s why we don’t stick with it.  No one likes feeling hungry.  But don’t underestimate how hard those two days can be.  I really suffered on those days.  But on the other five, I didn’t really think about it.  The science was right for me, as I wasn’t eating more than normal on a day after 500 calories.  I woke up like it was just another day.  For week #1, I did Tuesday and Thursday. I think I’ll stick with that regime.  I drink some coffee with half-n-half in the morning and have a frozen 290 – 300 calorie dinner.  It’s easier than having to account for every portion size and morsel.  

After one week, I’m down 2 lbs.  Not earth shattering but still down 2 lbs even after up days.  

I don’t relish Tuesdays and Thursdays but feel that this is something I can sustain.  I’ll keep you posted.  


Living With Less


I love a good organizing book.  I love to look at organizing magazines with pictures of pristine walls and all items in a place. What makes those pictures really so appealing is the fact that all clutter is removed.  If you’re a fan of Marie Kondo’s Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up you know that the magic is in the amount of items you should get rid of if it doesn’t “spark joy.”  Living with less is something I strive toward too.  I’ve lost neighbors to the pursuit of bigger houses when 1200 square feet just isn’t enough.  It’s enough but not enough when your pursuits are buying more and more.  To what end?

I once had to help my husband clean out a relative’s old house.  We had to rent the largest dumper available and spend two days throwing away items of this near hoarder house.  I just felt sad thinking about all the time and resources that went into this accumulation of stuff only to end in a 48 hour trash-a-thon.  What else could have been done with that money and time?

My kids have seen the world, and every summer and spring break we will see more of it.  We won’t see the inside of malls, drive the newest cars, or have closets and closets of clothes with tags hanging on them.  The kids don’t have smart phones and for now, will have to see the world in person rather than on a Youtube video.

The older I get the more I truly understand what’s important.  The memories are not in the stuff or the souvenirs.  They are with us.

“The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.” {Saint Augustine}

Breaking Free From Negativity

So the dog barfed on the rug, a kid let you know as you’re on your way out the door that they need $20 today for a field trip (of course you have 35 cents in your wallet), then there is the mystery oil puddle under your car that you know is going to be big money.  It’s the definite beginnings of negative mind and it may not take a lot to find yourself mired down into the depths of despair.  Before you know it you’re raging at world, or if you’re like me,seething in anger and silence.  It always seems so easy to fall into the pit and a monumental effort to claw your way out of there.  Over the years I’ve developed some ways to put the ladder down into the pit of despair.  Maybe they can work for you too.

  1.  Do something.  Once you’re in that negative mindset it’s time to stop thinking.  Do something.  Anything.  Distract that anger.  Stop replaying upsetting events or conversations over and over in your mind. One of the best ways to do that is to distract yourself.  Watch a funny TV show, read a book, go for a run, call a friend.  This is not the time for self-reflection mode.
  2. Stay off of Facebook.  News flash:  Facebook is not the real-world.  It’s just a fictitious society much like Farmville.  Those people on there aren’t that happy, their life is not that good and they have serious problems like everyone else.  Facebook is just where we put the version of ourselves we want to be.
  3. State the facts.  So what are the facts of the situation minus any emotion.  Yes, the dog barfed.  Paper towels and some spray will fix it.  My dog loves me. He’s normally a great dog.  Yes, there is oil on the driveway but it may be nothing major.  Either way the next stop is to schedule an appointment with my mechanic.  My child needs $20 now.  They should have told me sooner.  So, the answer is no.  You will have to miss this field trip because you didn’t plan better.  The best way to teach a lesson is to let kids live with the consequences of their actions.
  4. Take some time to write down some gratitude statements.  What has been good about today or yesterday.  Dig deep if you have to but remember, you have your health.  That is a big thing to be grateful for.
  5. Wine.  Nothing more to say about that.

How do you pull yourself out of the pit of negativity?


You Are Not Your Past


So if you’re type A like me, you’re likely starting to think about your 2016 goals before the egg nog is even empty in the refrigerator.  I always start by reviewing last year’s goals before I make a plan for this year.  I do however want to write this brief note of caution.  You are not your past.  If 2015 was awful, disappointing, weight-gaining, money losing, or heart breaking, don’t spend too long reviewing it.  Turn the page.  Time to buy a new calendar and fill it with your future.  Your past only serves you as a learning tool.  Learn a lesson from it, but don’t dwell on it.  2016 is a fresh new year.  One of my favorite quotes is from the Anne of Green Gables books.  “Tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it.”   Go plan for your tomorrows like your past doesn’t matter.

Living Room Renovation

There is nothing like a remodel to test your strength, endurance, organization, resolve, marriage or home ownership status.  My husband I recently completed a living room re-do.

We started by pulling out all of the Pergo we installed when it first came out.  We thought that engineered wood was amazing when it came out, but a decade of dogs, water spills and kids left it looking worn and tired.  We had built-in book shelves that also went.  The worst part was the fact that when we pulled up the Pergo, we remembered there was some 1970’s glued-down vinyl flooring.  🙁  Back to Home Depot to rent the tile chipper.



We finally got the floor up and started laying our new “wood” floor which is just actually long plank wood-like tile.  I love the look of wood, just not the durability.




My husband, quite the handy man, stained and polyurethaned long boards that he made into new book shelves.  I can paint and tile but making those was out of my apprenticeship league.  He even made me a new bulletin board to hang pictures on rather than the 20 or so odd mis-matched picture frames.  In the age of digital media, I like to simply print new photos and rotate them once in awhile.




Then came my favorite part.  Organizing.  It was a good time to purge old books that for someone reason I think I might read again, however, I don’t think that has EVER happened.  Too many unread books in the world.  Sorted papers, old manuals, old photos and was sure to treat the signed baseballs with care and respect my husband thinks they deserve.



My top shelf: books I plan to read this year.

My second shelf: bin for bill paying, and Etsy.  Things in which to build my calendar empire.

Third and fourth shelf also contain more Etsy binding supplies with the bottom left for my few select cookbooks.  Since came along, cookbooks have kind of gone by the wayside.


IMG_4583I’m happy to report that the new living room  is now light and airy, dog and kid proof and ready to send a new calendar across the US at a moment’s notice.  My marriage survived the ordeal and the entire project only cost about $800.  We kept reminding ourselves what it might cost to have professionals do this.

We did this all over our Spring Break.  We normally like to explore some part of the world during spring break but looking around my new living room, I think it was time well spent.




Breaking up is hard to do.

I finally did it! It has taken me a long time but I finally broke up with my satellite TV.  I didn’t just argue with it, I kicked it to the curb, sealed up the receivers and sent them back to HQ.  I don’t know why I agonized over this decision so much.  I have rarely watched it in the last year.  Mainly I would turn on CNN for thirty minutes while I got ready in the morning, but other than that, my limited TV watching mostly belongs to Netflix or Amazon Prime.  I kept saying $60 per month wasn’t so much but magically when you do that x 12 math, it is a lot.  $720 smackers.  You can do a lot with that.  Letting go of my landline was also difficult but I haven’t missed it one second.  My life belongs to Audible now.  I can absorb so much inspirational and informative content while I fold laundry or vacuum.  I won’t miss Robin Meade on CNN telling me what’s trending on Twitter, or what the weather is in a state more than a thousand miles away from me.  I am really starting to see TV for what it is….a time sucker.  There is some good content out there but that’s not usually what you land on while skimming channels.  TV still will have a place in my life but I’ll be more intentional about watching it.